In A Nutshell | December 24, 2021

Embracing the Real Christmas Story

‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house…well you know the rest of the story, right? Santa and his reindeer brought gifts of joy to every girl and boy, and they all lived happily ever after.

Well, that’s one version of the Christmas story, but it is obviously not the original, nor is it the most important. Long before we had any notions of Santa, there was this account of what really happened in the Gospel of Luke…

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

That’s what really happened, and that’s what we will celebrate on Friday night at Oak Chapel. Our sacred service begins at 7 p.m. and includes an inspiring display of candlelight as well as an opportunity to receive Christ through the Sacrament of Holy Communion. Please consider joining us for what we hope you will find to be a joyful and uplifting service.

You may remember that two years ago, our service was almost sabotaged by a dense Christmas Eve fog. Last year, it was a driving snowstorm and the lingering effects of the pandemic.

What will this year hold? I dare not ask. I only know that as Children of God, we will preserve, triumph, and rejoice.

As we know, there are many passages in the Bible that tout the importance of perseverance, including this from including this from the Gospel of Matthew (24:13): “the one who endures to the end will be saved,” as well as this from the Book of James (1:12): “Blessed is the [one] who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.

Regardless of what happens next, we know that “[we] can do all things through Christ who strengthens [us].” Even in our deepest, darkest moments, we are never alone, so let us worship together on Christmas Eve as a fellowship of believers, honoring this sacred celebration and praying for a Christ-filled New Year.

Until We Meet Again, Be Blessed! – Pastor John

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